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  • Ben Revere proving baseball is a game of inches

    On Tuesday night, in a 8-4 loss to the Detroit Tigers, Ben Revere went two-for-five on the night and had his average settle in at .317 – one one-thousandth of a point behind teammate and three-time American League batting champion Joe Mauer. This average was a far cry from his numbers last year when on this same day he was hitting a paltry .245.

    After being sent to Rochester in the early part of 2012, Revere worked with Red Wings hitting coach Tom Brunansky to get his swing back to the one which was producing consistent .300 averages over his minor league career. Together they found one small difference in his major league and minor league swing.

    In a recent conversation with Fangraphs.com’s David Laurila, Revere explained what he had changed in order to gain these statistical improvements:

    “Last year, I was rounding up a bunch of balls. I was coming around them and getting jammed. I watched film of myself, and coming up through the minors, I had my hands higher. When I went back down to Triple-A [this year], I told my hitting coach, Tom Brunansky, what was wrong, and we did some drills. Now I’m keeping my hands higher, so that I can go down and stay through the ball – instead of having them low where I come around and get jammed on fastballs right down the middle and a little bit inside.”


    “I only moved my hands an inch – a couple of inches, maybe. It was a little, small detail that has helped out a lot. I was talking to [Brunansky] and he said that with some guys, you change a whole bunch about them. With me it was just a couple of inches on my hands. That was it. I did that and feel like I’m back to my old self.”
    Here is a side-by-side comparison of Revere 2011 stance and his 2012 stance. Notice how Revere’s hand placement is not necessarily higher but it is more perpendicular to the ground. Certainly the bottom hand is in a more elevated position in 2012 versus the 2011 edition:

    What about Revere’s claims that the new positioning has helped him handle the inside pitch better?

    Last year he labored against pitches on the inner half of the plate. According to Inside Edge’s data Revere had a .036 well-hit ball average on those thrown inside in 2011 which was the third lowest in all of baseball. Because of that he posted a .389 OPS when pulling the ball – the worst mark in the MLB. This season however, Revere has put the ball into play at a much better rate – even on pitches being thrown closer to him. By Inside Edge’s numbers Revere is now posting a .169 well-hit average on pitches inside. And – while it is not a Josh Willingham-sian figure, mind you – he has a .620 OPS when turning on a pitch.

    An inch. Maybe a couple. That’s it.

    That’s offensively. What about in the outfield where he covers many more inches than the rest of his right field brethren?

    Inside Edge has also added defensive data to their repertoire. Unlike Ultimate Zone Rating or Plus/Minus which bases their numbers on a grid-like pattern on the field, Inside Edge’s data is pure scouting. They gauge plays made or missed for outfielders in several buckets for potential for making the play – Almost Certain, Likely, Even Chance, Unlikely and Remote. An Almost Certain is essentially a can-of-corn fly ball hit right at a player while a Remote play looks a lot like this one.

    Across the board, Revere is currently the best-in-class among right fielders in 2012:

    Although his defensive prowess was never truly in question, Revere has transformed from a player whom many figured to be an offensive liability to one who can hit his way on base regularly. He is proving that he can be a vital component of this Twins lineup – inch by inch.
    This article was originally published in blog: Ben Revere proving baseball is a game of inches started by Parker Hageman
    Comments 7 Comments
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      His bat is almost parallel to the ground now instead of angled off. I don't see much change in the height of his hands. 2012 actually looks lower in relation to his helmet. Maybe it's just the angle of the shot, I'm not sure.
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      Although I clearly remember Bruno as a player, I had to go back and look at his coaching history. It's remarkable to realize that he has only been back in MLB and with the Twins since 2010. A lot of success stories in a short period of time.

      Congrats to Ben Revere for "figuring it out" with the bat. I really didn't see this coming last year. Good for him.
    1. SarasotaBill's Avatar
      SarasotaBill -
      Pre-load position depends on the individual (see Youkilis). Everyone's different.

      More important is the hands position at the load (right before the swing occurs).

      I believe Revere was talking about the hands position at load.
    1. jimbo92107's Avatar
      jimbo92107 -
      I remember tinkering with my hand position as a kid, and later as an adult in a batting cage. Small changes affect where the bat head comes through. One minute you're constantly missing, then with a small change you're hitting line drives right on the button.

      I'm hoping that in AAA Brian Dozier will spot something like that in his batting stance, but mostly he needs to decompress and get his positive attitude back. He was feeling the pressure instead of applying it. You can't win with a defensive mindset, certainly not at the top level.
    1. Parker Hageman's Avatar
      Parker Hageman -
      Pre-load position depends on the individual (see Youkilis). Everyone's different.

      More important is the hands position at the load (right before the swing occurs).
      Right, mechanically speaking getting his hands to the point when loading is ultimately a bigger factor in the overall swing. However, Revere's load point is basically the same as it was last year (he drops his hands to slightly below the letters before going towards the ball -- he also admitted in an earlier article that he was trying to minimize movement at that point as well).

      In this case, where his moved his top hand higher in the pre-load, it is a case of getting his hands to the load point quickly (and in a more comfortable manner for him) and staying on top of the ball while trying to implement a more A-to-B swing rather than a looping version which caused him to get jammed.

      I'll review some more video but I have not seeing a difference between load points.
    1. JPS's Avatar
      JPS -
      Nice article, but I believe that Revere is only one one-thousandth of a point below Mauer.
    1. Parker Hageman's Avatar
      Parker Hageman -
      Quote Originally Posted by JPS View Post
      Nice article, but I believe that Revere is only one one-thousandth of a point below Mauer.
      Good catch. Thanks.
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